Friday, January 21, 2011

losing my faith...

Somewhere along the way I lost my faith. I'm not sure how it happened but it did. It was gradual like water seeping into the ground after a heavy rain, there one minute and then gone without fanfare. I came to this realization over the past couple of weeks.
This is why:
I am now rereading the entire bible. yes. Fun stuff. (Sarcasm)
The last time I did was in 1996.
I started "The Bible in 90 Days" program in the adult christian education class I teach. However, I am not teaching this...just facilitating a preplanned curriculum.
The Old Testament is somewhat tedious with measurements and dimensions and numbers, and it's God a bit bizarre with sacrifices and blood on people's ear lobes and burnt animal smells being a pleasing aroma. Okay that last part I can somewhat identify since I am a huge BBQ fan.
but I digress.
In the past two weeks I have read the first four books of the Old Testament and have decided I would make a terrible Israelite. I probably would have been one of those whining ones that got consumed in the Lord's angry fire or whatever.
And this God of the Old Testament somehow doesn't quite "fit" with the God I know as presented in the New Testament or the God I have had so many interactions with over the course of my lifetime.
So I am having issues reconciling those two Gods in my head.
Just before beginning the reread of The Bible, I read a book entitled "God's Problem", written by a former evangelical pastor who went to an extremely fundamental seminary. The author is also a phd/scholar in Old Testament and still teaches at a well known university in the Carolinas. His main issue with the God of the Bible is on the matter of suffering, and the guy makes pretty good arguments, well thought out about God allowing suffering and the many feeble attempts Christianity has made over the centuries trying to explain it.
And I reflect upon my own personal life and the here and now struggles I am dealing with: a relationship that is somewhat less than what I desire it to be; financial issues that are ever prevalent; a daughter who is about to graduate from high school and wanting to go to a college and trying to find away to pay for it; a stressful job. You get the picture. Heck, you are probably saying "me too!".
And no matter now much effort I put into it, how much planning I do, how much harder I work... nothing changes. I cannot control it.
read that... I CAN NOT C O N T R O L IT!
damnit.
Like the warmth of spring when it works its magic after winter has left its mark on the earth, I began to see that I had lost my faith. I had left that out. I have not trusted that God has this nor have I asked him too. I have been relying on ME. Like I could handle this. Very Manly.
Control issues. Distracted by a world that will consume you anyway it can, from your inside out, soul and all. Not one reliance on God.
Faith.
The author who could not reconcile the God of the bible with suffering in the world lost his faith. became agnostic.
The Israelites of the bible continually did not have faith in God of the old testament even though he worked miracles in their presence and provided their every need.
The nonprofitprophet continued to trust in himself to solve all of his own problems and shoulder the weight of an often demanding and uncaring world and in the process, lost his faith in a God who has shown himself over and over again to provide. It didn't take much.
and now i know this...in the process of losing my faith, i have regained it. I will be more mindful that there are many things that we simply will never be able to reconcile, to control, or understand. I'm not sure we were ever supposed to.
That great void that we are unable to define, control, comprehend, or come to terms with....? there, therein lies Faith. Faith That God will do as he will do and Is Who He Says He Is... Simply "I Am". and I am not.

1 comment:

journeyingrick said...

yeah. i hear you. me too.
and
i got nothin'. i don't believe all that stuff i believed when i was a kid, or when i was in my 20s, or when i was in my 30s. in my 40s it all seemed to change. it wasn't the stuff that changed, it was me. i saw differently. i'm down to a lot less "beliefs" and a lot more letting go.
it scares me. i'm not in control.
and it's liberating. but that doesn't make it any fun.